Crowd-Pleasing Game Day Food On a BUDGET

Sunday is game day! And no matter who you care cheering for it is still a fun time. Whether you're watching the game, the commercials or the Katy Perry concert. 

If you're hosting a party or have been invited to a party check out some of my budget-friendly crowd pleasing game day food ideas. 

Taco Roll Ups. So this is my version of a the Chili's Southwest Chicken Eggrolls Copy cat. Or as I am calling it "taco roll ups." Click here. 

love this version of Buffalo Chicken Dip because it features NO canned chicken (just fresh) and no processed cheese. And it's so yummy. 

I love these spicy and sweet pork tacos because they are very simple to make. You dump it all in the slow cooker and go! 

Mini BBQ Chicken Pizzas are a great way to use up leftovers and they are cheap and easy. Excuse the blurry photos, that was one of the first recipes I ever posted. 

So what about you? What are some of your favorite game day foods? 


Don't Lose Business Focus: Becoming a Work at Home Mom

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It's easy to become passionate about an idea, but it can quickly fizzle if you a.) don't stay focused or b.) get discouraged.  

So today we are going to dive into staying focused when starting a business. 

Understand you have to start small:

It may take you several years to start to see a full-time income from a business. The average is five years. And it takes a lot of work. But if you love what you’re doing then the time and energy you put into it will be worth it in the end.

Don’t compare yourself and your businesses goals to that of another person. 

Jon Acuff says "Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle." 

 It will drive you insane. So if you know another mom whose businesses is running like gangbusters give her a pat on the back and keep chipping away. It’s not a race and it’s not a competition. 

Imagine you are an Olympic swimmer. Does it do you any good to look at anyone else while you are swimming? No. Stay in your lane, look at what’s in front of you and keep moving forward. Don’t get distracted by what is going on the other lanes. If you’re trying to work from home with small children you have enough on your plate without worrying about what everyone else is doing. 

Sometimes you will need to adapt:

I started out writing articles and press releases for my clients. But when they needed more services I learned to adapt. I started handling their email campaigns, business to business marketing and even editing their books for epublishing.

What I didn’t know how to do I learned through online tutorials or from checking out books at the library. It was key for me to meet their needs and to constantly expand my portfolio. 

But it is also key for me to meet my children’s needs: It is paramount. So I might start the day with one plan. I have made a to-do list and I have scheduled everything out and it will completely change.

Perhaps my son wakes up with an ear infection, or my other son doesn’t nap or there is a family crisis or even a client crisis. I might have to completely rework my day. There are things on my to-do list that will not get done. I have learned to be okay with this. 

What are some things you do to keep focus? 

Alphabet Train Table

My boys love toys with wheels on them. Trucks, trains, tractors, you name it. So at Christmas my mother had this great idea to make them a small multi-use table perfect for eating, learning, puzzles, coloring and of course playing with trucks and trains. 

My mom started off with just a basic white table and two chairs. You can purchase one for around $40 on Amazon (affiliate link) or $25 on Ikea (without the seats). 

I also see them at yard sales every now and again. 

Mama used acrylic craft paint from Michaels to create the alphabet building, as well as the tracks and road. I like the Craft Smart and the Apple Barrel craft paints

She then painted the boy's names on the chairs. A tractor for Ryals, who is OBSESSED with tractors and an airplane for Isaac. She then sprayed everything is a protectant

   

 

 

Clearly the boys LOVE it. And it's perfect for playing with our trains and cars. But also for eating lunch, playing with puzzles and play-doh and sitting for quiet learning time. 

What I love about the table is that it's extremely light and portable, Ryals can carry his own chair (without scraping it across the floor) and it takes up very little space. 

What about you? Do you have any multi-purpose play equipment in your house? 

Pinterest Fail: Quinoa Pizza Crust

I am constantly on the search for new and healthy recipes for my family. Last week while perusing pinterest I found a recipe for quinoa pizza crust. 

I like quinoa and I love pizza so what could go wrong??? Famous last words.

The original recipe seems simple enough, the pictures were gorgeous and the steps weren't hard. 

I did veer from the recipe slightly by adding two garlic cloves and a little seasoning. Would that result in a crust that was all at once bland, crunchy and gritty? Those were my husband's words. Thanks, dear. 

The only saving grace was the spinach pesto I added on top. Which, I will share next week. It was pretty much awesome. 

Note: I DO NOT THINK MY FAIL WAS DUE TO A FAULTY RECIPE! I think the recipe creator is fabulous. Her recipes are fabulous. She is fabulous. My pizza crust on the other hand... 

What has your most recent kitchen fail been? 

Seven tips to stop impulse spending

One of the things I hear over and over again from readers is that they have trouble controlling impulse spending. 

"I just can't seem to stop spending money." 

I understand it's hard. I have struggled with impulse spending. I think at some point we all have, especially those with a natural inclination toward spending. After all, there are spenders and there are savers. 

But there are some ways to curb that need to spend. 

1. Avoid triggers. If you are more likely to drop a cash at the Target Dollar Spot, don't let yourself veer your cart in that direction. 

Avoid the make up counter at Dillards, or the bakery at Walmart. 

For me it's Goodwill. I walk in and I see these really great prices and I think "hey, it's only $2.99." But if I do that enough times I can wreck my budget. 

2. Don't shop while you're emotional. Just as you would't go to the supermarket while hungry, don't go to the mall or the shopping center when you're emotional.

If you're feeling angry, sad or vulnerable find a healthier way to deal with those feelings. Write in a journal, talk to a friend or go for a walk. Resist the urge to compensate for your feelings by shopping. 

3. Carry cash. Okay, I admit it. I struggle with the envelope system. I would much rather just use my debit card. But, I know if I go to Target (Look, I am talking about Target again) with cash in hand I am far less likely to spend it on things I DON'T need.  

If you walk into the store with $50 and you know you have to get milk, eggs and grapes for your family, you can't get that lipstick or fancy new hairspray. 

4. Calculate how much it will really cost you. If you are using a credit card really think about how much that sweater is going to cost you once fees and interest are tacked on. 

And while you may pay off your balance at the end of the month statistics show us that MOST consumers don't

If you are on a budget and you spend money not earmarked for that impulse spend, what are you saying no to in order to purchase the shiny object that has your immediate attention? 

Also, calculate how many hours you will have to work to pay for your purchase and then decide if it is worth it. 

5. Block online retail sites. If the cute baby leggings on Zulily catch your fancy, or the latest new release on Amazon has you logging online to spend money, block those sites!

Resist the temptation by not even allowing it to enter your home through your computer screen. 

This brings me to my next point... 

6. Unsubscribe from email alerts. If you get an email from Gap telling you about the latest skirt sale, suddenly your closet might be in want of a new black pencil skirt. But if that email doesn't enter your inbox, the temptation isn't there. 

7. Ask yourself the four questions. The four question are:

 Do I really need this? Do I have something else that will serve the same function?  Where am I going to put it? Can I get it for a better price elsewhere? 

However, if impulse spending is your issue, replace that last question with: Why do I want to buy this? Is there a need I am trying to fill with stuff? Am I just bored? 

I hope these tips help you curb that impulse spending. 

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with impulse spending and what do you to to stop it? 

Weekly meal plan and shopping list 1-26-15 - 1-31-15

I hope everyone had a restful weekend and that you are walking into Monday fully prepared to take on your week. 

But in case you're not I have put together a meal plan and shopping list to get you through until your brain starts firing on all cylinders. 

These are simple recipes that will be easy to make and are even easier on your budget. 

Let's go!

Sunday: Loaded Cornbread. This is so easy and I will serve it with a spinach salad.

Monday: Bean and rice casserole for meatless Monday! This is a one pan wonder and I love it! You can watch a video of me making it Here

Tuesday: "Mexican Pizza" with a quinoa crust! I will be sharing this recipe with you on Wednesday! 

Wednesday:  Mini baked sandwiches. I use THIS recipe from Passionate Penny Pincher. But I use less butter (far less) and I make mine with turkey and provolone. 

We will also have a steamed green beans.

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner! Grits, scrambled eggs and fruit. 

Friday: Homemade pizza! 

Shopping List

Print list!

Meat:

1 pound ground beef (put 1/3 pound in fridge stick the rest in your freezer)

1 dozen eggs

Grocery:

1 bag quinoa

1 bag brown rice

corn meal

1 can black beans or one bag of black beans prepped

2 jars salsa

brown and serve rolls

brown sugar

brown mustard

salad dressing

1 package grits

vegetable oil

1 jar spaghetti sauce or pesto

Produce:

one bag spinach

1 pint strawberries

1 pint blueberries

1 bag apples

1 pound green beans

1 onion

1 bulb garlic

Dairy:

butter

1 bag or block cheddar cheese

1 package cream cheese

one pizza crust or one bag of flour and 1 package yeast  (pizza crust recipe here)

1 bag or block mozzarella

1 package provolone or cheese singles (bonus points if you use a block of cheese!)

Check out more meal plans at OrgJunkie!




Becoming a Work at Home Mom Part I: Finding Your Niche

I have been running a business from home for almost three years. And by my own definition of success, it is successful. 

I get asked by a lot of women A LOT of women how to start a business. So I thought over the next few weeks I would walk your through it. 

Today let's discuss finding your niche!

If you want an opportunity, sometimes you have to create it.

I want you to find a piece of paper and write that down. Write it on the top page of your notebook. Put it on the front of your fridge. Write it on your chalkboard. 

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I realized when I wanted to start a businesses I needed to create myself an opportunity. I wanted to be a freelance writer. I had freelanced on and off for years, But I wanted to create a consistent income from it.

I loved marketing and creating great online content for people. How could I make a career off of it?? 

I didn’t have any delusions that I would be rolling in the dough, I just wanted something consistent, with the same clients and familiar work. And I did it and it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. 

The first thing I did was make a list of my skills. 

It looked like this:

  1. I can write quality content quickly.
  2.  I have media contacts.
  3.  I am good at social networking and social media marketing.
  4.  I am a great web editor and I work well under tight deadlines. 

I am not telling you this to toot my horn, but it was important for me to make a list of my good working qualities and then seek opportunities. 


The second thing I did was think about who I wanted to work with. 

The key for me was finding my target market, which was small businesses owned by women. I understand their needs, I understand what they are trying to balance and I understand the message they want to convey. And I love the people I get to work with everyday. I am their biggest cheerleader and I also feel like they are mine. 

Third, I thought about my own monetary value.

If I were running my own businesses how much would I pay for my services. 

Then I had to create an experience that clients would want to return to. I was courteous, professional and friendly. But I also made it clear, my son is my first priority and if he is having bad day or is sick or just needs me then my clients have to understand that. 

I have been richly blessed with clients who all understand that. Many of them are moms and they understand what I am trying to build.

Sometimes it isn’t obvious:

Do you sew? Could you make a living making children’s clothing? I have a friend who earns a full-time income making little girl’s dresses and accessories. People pay her top dollar for her custom designs. 

Are you web savvy? There are a lot of businesses out there who need web managers. I have met lots of clients who need someone who works exclusively with Word Press and are looking for people who can keep their websites running. 

Or maybe you have some graphic design experience. Could you spin that into a money making opportunity for yourself? 

My cousin found success working as a closing agent. She thought the work sounded interesting, found out how to get trained in her area and began working with real-estate agents. She works just a few hours a week which leaves her plenty of time for home and family. 

A high school friend of mine became an event planner. She works with clients out of her home and plans everything from birthday parties to fund raisers. 

These women took an idea and turned it into an opportunity. 

There is nothing inherently special about me or my abilities. But I have been able to turn those ideas into a business. So can you. 

Objections: Make a list of things you are good at.

Make a list of things you want to get out of a business.

What about you? Have you ever thought about what type of business you would want to run? JOIN THE CONVERSATION. 

 

 

Homemade Non-Toxic "Pin-sol"

Jason loves the smell of Pin-Sol. I mean, who doesn't? And my mother has told me that all good southern homes smell of Pin-Sol. 

There is something just inherently "clean" about the smell. But here is the thing, a few months back I poured some Pin-Sol in the toilet and it took my breath away. And not in a good way. 

I am not a "natural" or "green" purist. But I have really cut back on the commercial cleaning products I bring into my house. I am really sensitive to smells and as a child I struggled with asthma. And I believe that what is in our environment does have a big impact on our lung health. 

So today I am going to show you how I make my own "Pin-Sol." I use this mostly to clean toilets, but really you could use this for anything. 

You will need: 

Equal parts water and vinegar 

About 20 drops tea tree oil per cup of solution - The tea tree oil is what gives it that pin sol smell. 

5-6 drops orange oil (optional)

Spray or squirt bottle *

Combine your water and vinegar into a bottle or container and mix. Add in your oils and mix again. 
That's it you're done!

*I used an old dish soap bottle, but it is not recommended to use plastic with oils because of potential leaching. However, since I was using my solution in my toilet, I just used a plastic container. 

What homemade cleaning products do you use? 

nd don't forget to link up at Thrifty Thursday.